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3337 

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D42 

1918 

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THE DEMON 



EDINBTJBOH : 
PRINTED BT J. SKINNBR AND CO., LTD. 



THE DEMON 

TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN OF 

LERMONTOFF 



BY 



ROBERT BURNESS, B.A. (Oxon.) 
Petrograd 



EDINBURGH: 

DOUGLAS & FOULIS, 9 Castle Street 

1918 



PRESERVATION 
COPY ADDED 
ORIGINAL TO BE 
RETAINED 



\m 



4\994 







DEDICATION. 
TO THE CAUCASUS. 

OH, Caucasus, to thee, majestic, wild, 
I sing my lay, its faltering strains confessing — 
Inspire the singer, as thou would'st thy child, 
With snowy halo of paternal blessing. 
'Twas thou, whose spell my youthful thoughts beguiled 
With chains as strong as fate, as love caressing — 
In northern lands thou knowest not — even there 
My heart was thine always and everywhere. 

Even as a boy I roamed, thine ardent lover. 
O'er crags and beetling rocks with timorous tread, 
Where thou, like Allah's worshippers, did'st cover 
With misty turban thine imperial head. 
Where homing eagle paused awhile to hover, 
And freer winds their courses onward sped, 
There on the dizzy peak my dreamland fancies 
Whirled on with these through ether's broad expanses. 

Since then till now long years have rolled between. 

Once more among thy cliffs behold our meeting ! 

Kindly thy welcome to the boy has been. 

Now to the exile kindly be thy greeting. 

For grief thou gav'st oblivion serene 

To one who sought thee, love for love entreating. 

Lo ! he again invokes thee here and now. 

Whose thoughts are thine and all whose song art thou. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 

Michael Lermontoff was born in Moscow on the 15th 
October 18 14. Of his father we know but Httle ; his 
mother died when the poet was three years old, and he 
was brought up by his maternal grandmother^ He was^^j^^^^ 
well instructed at an early agq. in modern languages, and 
among his shorter pieces there are graceful translations 
from French, German and English. Of his prose works 
the most typical is A Hero of our Time. Of his poetical 
works the most generally known is The Demon, which 
has not only been dramatised, but also set to music by 
Rubinstein, and is to this day one of the most popular 
operas on the Russian stage. 

Lermontoff entered Moscow University, but he left it 
without taking a degree, and continued his studies in St. 
Petersburg. An account of his personal appearance in 
the early thirties describes him as plain looking, but 
redeemed from ugliness by his expressive eyes and 
intellectual forehead, /"^ven at this early stage he was a 
great admirer of Byron, and he was often seen on his 
walks with a volume of Byron under his arm. Though 
capable of making himself extremely agreeable in society, 
he seems to have given offence at times by his sarcastic 
and biting wit. In the year 1834 he entered the army, 
and his life at this period was that of a gay and some- 
what fast young officer. 

But all the time he had been writing. If he had 
hitherto given the public few chances of admiring his 

vii 



viii THE DEMON 



genius, it was because he was severely critical of his own 
wprk,_ He would never allow anything to pass out of 
his hands before he was thoroughly satisfied with it 
himself. He was a true artist at heart. *' Many faultless 
verses of The Demon which might have been printed 
separately lay all his life in a hidden place/' In the 
year 1837 universal attention was drawn to him for the 
first time. The great Russian poet Pushkin was killed 
in a duel, and Lermontoff wrote a poem on the event. 
In consequence of certain expressions used he was exiled 
to the Caucasus. He was recalled the following year, 
but was exiled a second time. A few hasty words 
spoken at a ball led to a duel. The poet was transferred 
to a regiment serving in the Caucasus. He had visited 
the region for the first time with his grandmother when 
he was ten years old. His early impressions were 
never effaced, and every sojourn only served to deepen 
them. 

Pushkin, whom Lermontoff greatly admired, had 
shown himself in his earlier poems an admirer of Byron. 
But Pushkin after his thirtieth year discarded Byronism : 
Lermontoff remained true to it all his life. The character 
of the Demon is based on the character of " Lucifer" in 
Byron's Cain. The idea in both poems is the struggle 
between the two primary powers of good and evil, the 
overthrow of the latter, and the ultimate regeneration of 
mankind. The vast ideas of space and eternity expressed 
in the Demon's speeches may well be compared with 
Lucifer's speech to Cain, describing those beings who 

" Can crowd Eternity into an hour, 
Or stretch an hour into Eternity." 

Lermontoffs writings are distinguished for their graceful 



THE DEMON ix 



style and versification. He had a deep admiration for 
all that is beautiful in nature. The Caucasus, as he said 
himself, was to him something sacred. To the Caucasus 
The Demon is dedicated. 

In 1 84 1 Lermontoff was killed in a duel when in his 
twenty-seventh year. He died so young that it is 
impossible to say to what heights his genius might have 
risen. The rich poetic fancy is his own, his inspiration 
is drawn from the glorious mountains he loved so well, 
i^hile the influence of Byron brought him into the tidal 
wave which swept at that time over the range of 
Western literature. 



THE DEMON 



PART I. 



"Evil, be thou my good."~MlLTON. 

"And the sons of God beheld the daughters of men that they 
were fair."— Genesis. 



ARGUMENT. 

A Fallen Angel is flying over the earth. He is weary of 
evil. Mankind has become corrupt and offers no opposition 
when he tempts, (i, 2.) 

He views the noblest scenery of the Caucasus, but hatred is 
predominant in his heart, and he scorns whatever he sees. 
(3, 4-) 

Gud^l, a Caucasian chief, has built a castle on a lofty hill. 
His daughter, Tamira, is about to be married to the Lord of 
Sinodkl. She is spending the evening with her girl friends 
dancing and singing. She is so pure and lovely that she would 
arouse nobler thoughts, even in a Demon, were one to see her, 
and would make him long for his lost Paradise. (5,6,7,8.) 

The Demon sees her and loves her. (9.) 

Meanwhile the Lord of Sinodal is riding to the marriage at the 
head of a gay cavalcade. The Demon tempts him to ride more 



THE DEMON 



swiftly through a dangerous mountain pass, where he is attacked 
by robbers and slain. His horse arrives at Gudil's castle with 
the dead rider on its back. (lo, 1 1, 12, 13, 14.) 



The Demon appears to Tamara in her dreams. He urges her 
to grieve no more, and promises her a love that is not of 
earth. (15,16.) 



A FALLEN ANGEL once was winging 
Over a sinful earth his way, 
And memory was ever bringing 
The vision of a happier day, 
Telling an unforgotten story 
How once in realms of light and glory 
A seraph pure and bright he shone — 
How the brief comet downward fleeting 
Loved to exchange a smile of greeting 
With him, before its spark was gone. 
How 'mid the infant world's formations 
In caravans of cloud he roved 
Through worlds of scattered constellations — 
How Nature spread her lore and smiled 
Once upon him, God's happy child, 
In days when he believed and loved. 



THE DEMON 



No trouble vexed his spirit then — 

Now endless vistas lie between / n r 

The blessedness beyond his ken 

And Him, who knew what might have been. 



Outcast so long — no Heaven, no home — 
He wandered through earth's wildernesses- 
Monotonous and wearisome, 
As one age on another presses, 
Or one slow minute follows minute. 
The paltry world was his — but in it 
His wickedness he wrought resistless, 
For men on earth nowhere withstood 
His wiles when he essayed — and, listless, 
He loathed the evil seeds he strewed. 

3- 
O'er many a lofty Caucas peak 
The exile's soaring pinion rose, 
Below him, as with gems, Kazbek 
Sparkled with everlasting snows. 
And Darial's ^ opposing sides 
Showed black, as when a serpent hides 
Its winding coils in some dark lair. 

^ Darial is a famous defile. 



THE DEMON 



And Terek/ bounding from its fountain/ 

Like lion with wild shaggy hair, 

Roared, and each mountain beast and mountain 

Bird in the azure deep of air 

Circled in endless panorama, 

And gold-rimmed clouds from Eastern lands 

Whirled with him on to northern strands, 

And lofty rock and promontory, 

Full of the secret of a dream. 

Bent their proud heads beneath him flying. 

Tracing the course of glittering stream. 

And rival tower with tower vying 

Scowled on the clouds that lay between ; 

Till last, like sentinel stupendous, 

The Caucasus shed dazzling sheen 

Veiling a majesty tremendous. 

All wild and wondrous was the scene 

Of God's fair world ; but his proud vision 

Scanned his Creator s works in vain. 

Reflecting nought but calm derision, 

Although that scorn was deathless pain. 

4. 
In front a glorious variation 
Of palpitating landscape lies. 
Carpets of living vegetation 
Where Grusian valleys sink or rise, 

^ Terek is a river. 



THE DEMON 



Glimpses of earthly Paradise, 
Columns of ruined minarets, 
And gently tinkling rivulets 
Making the happy pebbles glisten ; 
And rosy groves where nightingales 
Sing their sweet loves, nor pause to listen 
Till amorous mates sing answering tales. 
There clothed with ivy, cool and wide. 
The sycamores spread shady arches, 
And in the caves when noonday parches 
The timid stag comes in to hide. 
Brightness and life where all rejoices, 
The myriad hum of Nature's voices 
All drowsy in noon's burning tide. 
But in the blaze of midday heat. 
Or in the night when zephyrs sweet 
With fragrance of the rose were laden, 
And bright as eyes of Grusian maiden 
The pale-faced stars kept watch above, 
Nought of magnificence could move 
In that grim angel fallen from splendour 
One thought of sympathy or love, 
Of strength renewed or longings tender ; 
And when he viewed the scene before him. 
Hatred and scorn came surging o'er him. 



THE DEMON 



5. 

High on a cliff, with spacious halls, 
A castle stood, (the price of tears 
And toil to serfs through weary years), 
Where in the morning shadow falls 
From pine-clad hill to castle walls. 
And Prince Gudal, so stern and gray, 
Had bade his thralls to hew a way 
Down that steep cliffs resisting side, 
Till step by step led to the water 
Where deep Aragva's ^ currents glide. 
And oft Tamara, his young daughter, 
Would come in veil and snow-white hood 
To fill her pitcher at its flood. 



From lofty cliff that castle lowered 

Grim, silent, motionless alway ; 

But all is mirth and joy to-day, 

And zithers sound, and wine is poured. 

Gudal his daughter's hand hath plighted, 

And all his clan to feast invited. 

And on the housetop, thickly strewn,^ 



^ Aragva is a river, a tributary of the Kura. 

^ The roofs are flat and are strewn with carpets. 



THE DEMON 



The bride Tam^ra, fair and young, 
Is seated in a virgin throng, 
'Mid song and dance and zither's tune. 
While the sun's orb is sinking soon 
Behind the peaks, and for their pleasure 
They dance in a cleared space between 
Maids clapping hands to music s measure. 
And lightly her gay tambourine 
Twirling with one hand round her head. 
The young bride springs with fairy tread. 
And lighter than a bird she flashes, 
Now darting here, now breathless staying. 
And all the merry girls surveying 
With sparkling eyes 'neath long eye-lashes. 
She guides the chorus through its mazes 
'Mid rustling silk and gauzy shimmer, 
And oft a dainty foot upraises. 
Seeming to float, an airy swimmer.^ 
And ah ! that smile of childlike grace 
Lighting her laughter-loving face. 
Not Cynthia's quivering beams, the while 
On castle wall and turret glancing, 
Could match the radiance of that smile 
Than youth and gladness more entrancing. 

^ This is a description of the Caucasian national dance, 
" Lesginka." 



8 THE DEMON 



7- 
I swear by yon clear midnight star, 
By rays that flash from east to west, 
Ne'er emperor of lands afar, 
Nor king, nor conqueror, nor Czar 
Such lovely damsel e'er caressed. 
Nor e*er did fountain's gentle storm 
Lave with pellucid drops of pearl 
In summer's heat so fair a girl, 
Or sprinkle so divine a form. 
Never did mortal hand till now 
Smooth with soft fingers such a brow, 
Or twine them in such waving hair. 
For not since man was thrust from Eden 
Had ever bloomed so sweet a maiden, 
So innocent, so heavenly fair. 

8. 

But now, her last gay dance is over. 
And dark forebodings o'er her hover, 
For at the morn a stranger lover 
Waits for the daughter of Gudal. 
A marriage yoke, a plighted hand. 
New kinsmen, unfamiliar land. 
Poor child, to be a husband's thrall ! 
And ofttime doubt, all unaware, , 
Laid on her heart a dumb distress, 



THE DEMON 



But all her motions were so fair, 
So full of seeming want of care, 
Brimful of simple artlessness, 
That had the Demon, wending by, 
Beheld her then, he might have spurned 
All his fell purposes, and turned 
To Heaven with a repentant sigh. 

9- 

Lo ! he beheld .... For one brief space, 
Emotion strange, expressionless. 
Swept in resistless torrent o'er him, 
As if some voice of grace divine, 
Across the gulf that lay before him. 
Had called the outcast to the shrine 
Of loveliness and heavenly strength. 
And awestruck at the wondrous sight, 
His thoughts in wayless labyrinth 
Perplexed him, as in twinkling night. 
Star points to star a chain extending 
To continuity unending. 
And riveted by power unseen. 
New pangs increased his punishment, 
Speaking in words which might have been 
Erstwhile his own, '' Repent, repent ! '* 
He strove to tempt — the words came not — 
Had he his ancient wiles forgot ? 



10 THE DEMON 



Nay. For were God to grant him yet 

His former malice to forget, 

He would but scorn the gift He sent. 



ID. 

Spurring meanwhile his mettled steed, 
The impatient bridegroom rides with speed 
Where bright Aragve's currents glide 
Twixt verdant banks on either side. 
And following, far down the way, 
With bells that tinkled as they strode, 
Came camels faint beneath the load 
Of costly gifts for marriage day. 
And Sinodal's ^ impetuous lord 
Himself led this gay cavalcade. 
With flashing jewels thick inlaid 
Glittered his poniard and his sword, 
His richly carven musket gleaming 
In the sun's rays, his tunic streaming. 
Fanned by the breeze that ceaseless played 
Through the loose sleeves and vest confined 
By fringe of lace, his saddle gay 
With coloured silks of far Cathay ; 
His bridle decked with every kind 
Of tasselled store from farthest Ind. 

^ Sinodal is probably the site of the present village Tsynondaly. 



THE DEMON 11 



And his proud steed of Caucas strain, 
In fierce revolt gainst guiding rein, 
Tossing his tawny mane, and champing 
The foamy bit, impatient stamping, 
Pricks up his ears to glance aside 
From threatening cliff to seething tide. 
Narrow and dangerous the way 
Along the gaping chasm lay ; 
To right the angry waters hiss. 
To left a frowning precipice. 
The dusk has fallen, the day is gone, 
The cavalcade moves faster on. 

II. 

There stood a chapel on the road 

Wherein a saint reposed in God, 

(This saint had been a prince in life, 

Slain long ago in vengeful strife,) 

And whosoever fared that way, 

On warfare or on pleasure bent. 

Passed never heedless by, but went 

To the old lonely shrine to pray, 

And that same prayer would guard him well 

From dagger of the infidel. 

But the young bridegroom, pausing not. 

Rode on secure, his prayers forgot, 

For, weaving dreams of fond conceit, 



12 THE DEMON 



The crafty Fiend was at his side, 

" Haste, bridegroom, haste — more fleet, more 

fleet. 
Else other lips will kiss thy bride." 
Sudden in front two forms appeared — 
A shot rang out — the charger reared — 
And on his clanging stirrups rose 
The impulsive prince to face his foes, 
For words of parley lingering not, 
But straight with poniard gleaming, flashing, 
Like eagle from its eyrie dashing, 
'Mid crack of whip and pistol shot. 
Loud rang the pass with musket rattle. 
With cries and groans of wounded men, 
As craven Grusians through the glen 
Fled from the short contested battle. 

12. 

Huddled together in amaze 
Stand the aff'righted camels, eyeing 
The corpses of their riders lying, 
And helpless on each other gaze, 
As bell to bell makes vain replying; 
Plundered the gorgeous caravan, 
And over every slaughtered man, 
Flapping their wings, foul birds of prey. 
No peaceful tomb awaits their clay 



THE DEMON 13 



In graveyard 'neath monastic stones 

Where rest their fathers' dust and bones. 

No mother in bereaved despair, 

No black-veiled sister will come there, 

With tears and sobs and anguished prayer, 

To mourn a son's, a brother's loss. 

But 'neath the cliff, in uncouth ways, 

Rude hands will dig a grave, and raise 

Some hasty carved memorial cross. 

And ivy in the summer days 

Will twine around, in fond caress, 

An emerald net of tenderness. 

And weary traveller in the vale 

Seek rest within its holy pale. 

13. 

Swifter than stag, the noble steed. 

As though rebuked for tardy speed, 

Pausing a moment's space to sniff 

The breeze that flutters on the cliff. 

Snorts, stamping the insensate ground 

With angry hoofs metallic sound ; 

Tosses his mane from side to side, 

His nostrils red, distended wide .... 

A rider motionless he bears. 

With wound that gapes, with eye that stares, 

Whose head is sunk on horse's mane, 



14 THE DEMON 



Whose nerveless hand still grasps the rein, 
Whose feet the stirrups press in vain, 
While the dark crimson splash upon 
Harness and gay caparison 
Spreads to a deeper, broader stain. 
Bold courser ! thou didst bear thy master 
Fleeter than arrow from the fight, 
But the fell bullet followed faster 
From dastard ambuscade that night. 

14. 

In GudM's court loud wail and din, 
And eager peasants throng and press. 
Whose steed is this that gallops in, 
Wild-eyed and staggering in distress. 
And falls within the courtyard dead ? 
And who that knight in armour red. 
With frowning brow and firm set lip 
Telling a murderous tale of pain. 
While his dead hand the horse's mane 
Clutches with last convulsive grip ? 
Too soon the wedding day is over, 
Poor bride, behold the expected lover, 
As true to plighted, princely word 
He galloped to the festal board ! 
Hapless Tam^ra, all is o'er. 
And he will mount his steed no more. 



THE DEMON 15 



15. 

On happy home like thunderstone 
Fell that disaster, strange and dread, 
And poor Tamkra with a groan 
Fell swooning on her bridal bed. 
And wild spasmodic sobbing tore her, 
And burning tear fell after tear. 
Twas then she listening seemed to hear 
A voice unearthly whisper o'er her : 

** Ah weep not, child, thy tears are vain ; 

They fall in no reviving rain 

To make the unheeding dead return : 

They only cloud thy face with pain. 

And make thy maiden cheeks to burn. 

He is so far, he will not stay 

To heed thy tears, to reck thy sighs. 

Caressing angels kiss away 

All disappointment from his eyes. 

His dreams of earth are fading dim 

In that far land so still, so calm, 

What are a maiden's tears to him 

Who listens to the angels' psalm ? 

The happiness and woes of earth, 

Whate'er their transient chances be. 

Nay, all creation is not worth 

One momentary tear from thee. 



16 THE DEMON 



" In the broad ethereal ocean, 

Free of rudder, free of sail, 

Wandering planets in their motion 

Chant a myriad-voicfed tale. 

Fleecy flocks of cloud are wending 

Their irrevocable flight, 

Through the fields that have no ending 

In the labyrinth of light. 

Now they meet and now they sever, 

Their's no joy and their's no pain. 

Yesterday is gone for ever, 

And to-morrow's cares are vain. 

When there comes a day of anguish, 

Only think of these and say, 

* I will neither pine nor languish, 

Recking earth no more than they ! ' 

" Soon as the night her sable veil 

Over the Caucasus has spread, 

When charmed as by enchanter's tale, 

The busy world asleep is laid ; 

Soon as the wind in mountain pass 

Makes rustle in the faded grass, 

Where hidden bird by sleep oppressed 

Flutters contented to its nest ; 

When the night flower 'neath sheltering vine 

Sips nectared draughts of dew divine, 



THE DEMON 17 



Spreading its timid petals tender, 

And the pale moon with stealthy splendour 

Clear of the hills her beauty flings 

To gaze on thee with envy wan — 

Lo ! I will come on dew-dipped wings 

To dwell with thee till flickering dawn, 

And waft on thy silk-shaded eyes 

The golden dreams of Paradise/' 

i6. 

Silence .... all faded far away ; 

Echo for echo, sound for sound. 

She started up, looked wildly round — 

Terror, astonishment, dismay. 

Held in her breast alternate sway, 

And at her heart strings surging, swelling. 

She did not know, she could not say, 

What rapturous joy, all else excelling ! 

Her soul had cast its bondage down 

And rioted through every vein. 

While diapasons could not drown 

The insistence of that new refrain 

In that strange voice's haunting strain. 

But when at dawn her senses slept, 

Prophetic fancies o'er her creeping 

Told her that some dim Presence kept 

Watch over her while she was sleeping. 



18 THE DEMON 



A cloudy form was o'er her bending 
Of beauty human thought transcending. 
He did not speak — he did not move — 
But in his eyes was speechless love. 
So anguish-torn that glance fell o'er her 
Whose only thought was to adore her. 
Twas not the angel God had given, 
Her guardian spirit sent from Heaven ; 
Halo of iridescent rays 
Shone not above the impassioned gaze ; 
Twas not a Fiend from Hell's abysses 
Of tortured agony — oh, nay, 
He glowed with evening's lovelinesses — 
Nor dark, nor light — nor night, nor day. 



PART II. 

" A woman wailing for her Demon lover." — COLERIDGE. 

Mephistopheles. " Sie ist gerichtet." 
Stimme von oben. " Ist gerettet."— Faust. 

ARGUMENT. 

Tamara, fearing that she is in the power of some evil spirit, 
prays her father to send her to a Convent. She becomes a 
nun. She sees, but cannot appreciate, the wonderful scenery 
around her. Her new lover is but a phantom. She prays and 
weeps before her crucifix but receives no comfort. In all her 
dreams he appears before her and finally wins her complete love. 
(1,2,3,4,5,6.) 

The Demon, after long hesitation, ventures to enter the Con- 
vent. He is confronted by a Seraph, Tamara's guardian angel.^^^ 
Angry words are exchanged, and the Seraph, believing 
Tamira to be hopelessly lost, leaves her. (7, 8, 9.) 

The Demon appears to Tamara. He speaks words of 
passionate love. He tells her that love will restore him to the 
Heaven and happiness which he has forfeited. Will Tamara, 
whom he has loved from eternity, love him in return ? He will 
give her what she has never dreamed of even if both must 
remain in Hell. She will always have his love. All he desires 
is her love. (10.) 

At the first kiss Tamara dies in agony. (11.) 

The sentry on duty hears a scream of pain but passes on. (12.) 

A description of Tamara's funeral. (13, 14). 



20 THE DEMON 



An angel is bearing her to Heaven when the Demon confronts 
him and claims her soul. The angel replies that God has 
already judged her and forgiven her because she loved and 
suffered. 

Many years have passed since events recorded. Everywhere 
is ruin and only tradition remains. 



OH father, father, cease upbraiding — 
Thine own Tam^ra do not chide : 
Thou see*st the tears that I am shedding- 
How many have I shed beside I 
Oh father, father, tell my lovers 
Thy poor Tamara ne'er will wed ; 
Him, that she loves, the cold earth covers 
And in his grave her heart is dead. 
For since his mangled corse we carried 
To resting place beneath the hill, 
A cruel Fiend my soul has harried 
Breaking the barriers of my will. 
He comes in dreams of hellish power, 
With fantasies to speech abhorrent — 
My veins throb with a fiery torrent. 
I fade, I wither like a flower — 
My soul is torn with anguish wild, 
I suffer, father, hour by hour. 
Oh, spare me, father, spare thy child, 



THE DEMON 21 



Oh, to some holy Convent send me, 
Bid thine infatuate daughter go 
Where the Redeemer will defend me 
And grant me solace in my woe. 
Earth hath no happiness to give me, 
And from the Saviour I will crave, 
What time the Convent walls receive me, 
To find a peace — though of the grave. 

2. 

To lonely Convent far from thence 

Her parents led her forth, and bound 

A sackcloth garb of penitence 

Her guiltless maiden bosom round. 

But in the cloister garb she wore, 

As erst in queenly robes arrayed. 

The quivering heart-strings of the maid 

Throbbed with wild fancies as before. 

And when the altar tapers shone, 

And when the hymn of praise ascended, 

Even with the words of prayer was blended 

The haunting voice she once had known. 

x\nd when the filmy cloud of incense 

Rose to the chapel's vaulted dome, 

A consciousness would ever come 

That voiceless, traceless, some dim Presence, 

Still as a star, before her there 

Stood beckoning her — she knew not where. 



22 THE DEMON 



3. 
Between two hills and hid from view, 
The Convent stood in grateful shade, 
Where sycamore and poplar grew, 
And oft the flickering shadows played 
On window of the cloister cell, 
When at her crucifix she prayed, 
And night had fallen on hill and dell. 
She saw where solemn crosses rose 
To mark the silent homes of peace. 
Where anchorites had found repose. 
By day, among the almond trees. 
She heard glad birds make melodies. 
Below the beetling cliflf each spring 
Ran to meet spring o'er stone and pebble, 
Rippling with noisy, happy treble, 
Glad in one stream their lymphs to fling, 
And flow along the gorge together 
Tween paths of moss and flower and heather. 

4 

Northward the mountains rose to view. 
And with the dawn a hazy blue 
Curled wreathing, circling o'er the valley ; 
And turning to the East his face, 
Soon as the bell to prayer did rally, 
Each Mussulman would stay his pace. 



THE DEMON 23 



And when that voice of morning chime 
Awoke the Convent with its clanging, 
At that serene and solemn time, 
With empty water-pitcher hanging, 
Tripped down the hill each Grusian maiden, 
And plodded back with pitcher laden. 
Ah ! then how grand the enduring snows. 
Tinged with the sunrise lingering glows 
Against pellucid azure lying ; 
And when at eve the sun in dying 
Cast o'er the heights a ruddy shroud, 
Above all others towering far, 
Piercing vain barriers of cloud, 
Soars vast Kazbek, crowned, mantled czar 
Of those proud peaks, himself more proud. 

But she, by evil powers possessed, 
Feels no response within her breast 
To holy joys. Her clouded sight 
Sees only lurid shapes pursuing 
The rays of morn or shades of night, 
And all combined to her undoing. 
When evening cools the slumberous air^ 
The dark brings fantasies appalling. 
And at the Saviour's image falling 
She weeps in frenzies of despair. 



24 THE DEMON 



And every wayfarer who hears 

Pauses a space and strains his ears. 

And mutters when he passes near it 

** Some mountain spirit moans with pain, 

Striving to free himself in vain," 

And horseman, shuddering to hear it, 

Urges his steed with spur and rein. 



6. 

Oft at her lattice meditating, 
With fearful heart-strings palpitating, 
Wretched Tamara still surveys 
The horizon with an anxious gaze. 
Whole days she waits, for like a sigh 
She hears a whisper — '' He is nigh." 
No empty hopes her visions send her, 
Nor had he erst appeared in vain 
With words of love so strange and tender, 
With eyes that burned with quenchless pain. 
Yet she was sick, nor could discover 
What ill her trembling soul dismayed. 
Her heart had worshipped that new lover, 
What time her lips to God had prayed. 
Weary with strife — her senses reeling, 
Whene'er she laid her down to rest. 
Her pillow throbbed with fitful feeling 



THE DEMON 25 



And she upsprang aghast, oppressed, 

With aching heart and fevered breast. 

** Love ! " — Magic word ! Her pale lips gasp it, 

But the elusive vision flies, 

And, when she spreads her arms to clasp it, 

The kiss she felt grows cold and dies. 



7^ 

When eve with darkening pall had covered 
The peak of every Grusian hill, 
The Demon round the Convent hovered, 
As oft ere now — all was so still, 
So sacred, that his thoughts of ill 
Faltered a while, nor for a space 
Dared he draw nigh that holy place. 
But wandered aimless, sadly thinking 
How durst he break that peace divine. 
And fain would quit his fell design, 
While every leaf he trod on, shrinking, 
Seemed to cry out, as though affrighted. 
He raised his eyes and saw the beams 
Reflected from the lamp that lighted 
Her cell (she waits some guest it seems); 
Then in the silence that surrounded 
He heard a tinkling lute that sounded. 



26 THE DEMON 



And, rhythmical as falling tears, 
The strain of lute and voice he hears : 
Soft cadence rising, flowing, falling. 
Music of song and lute so even, 
Melting melodious, as if Heaven 
From out her store one tune had given, 
As if an angel's voice were calling : 

'*Come back, dear love, come back, for see 
How I have stolen down to thee, 
To sing of what was wont to be 
And charm a little of thy sadness." 

Then all love's torture and love s madness 

Possessed his soul — what pain to hear 

The long unspoken words of love ! 

He strove to fly — he could not move — 

And from his eye there rolled a tear, 

As a memorial stands to prove : 

For still beside Tamara's cell 

There stands a rock all seared and broken 

By tear that scalded where it fell, 

No human tear, but who can tell 

What anguished eye left such a token. 

8. 

He came with heart attuned to love her. 
And fondly thought the dreadful past 



THE DEMON 27 



And its sad memories were over 

And the new life had dawned at last, 

Yet paused uncertain, for his breast 

Throbbed with prophetic sense of sin. 

Dumb, nameless fears his mind possessed, 

Then, doubting still, the infernal guest 

Crossing the threshold entered in. 

And lo ! there stood with flaming sword 

A guardian seraph of the Lord 

To bar his passage, one who smiled 

Benignantly, as he would fling 

Over that lovely, erring child 

The shelter of his angel wing. 

The eff'ulgence from his glance that broke 

Dazzled the baffled Demon's eyes. 

And words of greeting, sternly spoke. 

Fell from his lips in scornful wise. 



'' False, vicious spirit of unrest, 
What brings thee here on midnight quest ? 
Who dwell within are none of thine. 
Hell may not flaunt her presence here, 
Let not thine impious tread draw near 
To my dear love, to this pure shrine. 
What is thy quest ? '.' 



28 THE DEMON 



'' Nay, she is mine ! '* 
The Fiend replied with smile abhorrent, 
And straightway jealous fury turned 
All gentler thoughts back to the torrent 
Of hate, wherein he late had burned. 
'' Thou, guardian angel, com'st too late 
To filch from me my worshippers — 
She's mine — go, leave her to her fate, 
For thou art not my judge — nor hers. 
Proud seraph, hence — mine, mine, all mine ! 
See on her heart my seal's impress. 
Here is no more thy holy shrine, 
For where I love, there I possess." 
The seraph with sad glance beholding 
The hapless victim where she lies. 
Slowly his rainbow wings unfolding. 
Vanished in ether of the skies. 

lO. 

Tamara. 

" Thy words with fearful sense are laden. 
From whence art thou ? from Heaven or hell ? 
What wilt thou here ? 

Demon. 

'* Oh, lovely maiden — " 

Tamara. 
*' Speak, I adjure — who art thou, tell.** 



THE DEMON 29 



Demon. 

** Lo ! I am he whose whispered word 

At midnight spoke, strange fancies weaving, 

Whose face hast seen, whose voice hast heard, 

Whose spirit with thy soul conferred 

In agony past thy conceiving. 

Let me but glance, and at its birth 

Hope shudders and is desolated. 

No one can love me here on earth, 

And in the heavens I am hated. 

Wisdom and freedom my domain, 

And years and distance without measure 

Are but my slaves to work my pleasure 

In that vast empire where I reign. 

But lo ! God's foe and Nature's bane, 

The bitter scourge of earthly thralls. 

Before thy feet a lover falls. 

Behold me here in suppliant fashion 

The gift of thy dear love implore, 

Behold my tears of earthly passion, 

Tears I have never shed before. 

Thou canst redeem me, canst restore 

To empyrean everlasting. 

To good, to happiness eternal, — 

Ah, 'tis so easy — 'tis by casting 

O'er me love's sheltering robe, and Heaven 

Will welcome me to bliss supernal. 

New angel, cleansed, received, forgiven. 



30 THE DEMON 



Listen, oh listen, I implore thee, 

I am thy slave, and I adore thee. 

Soon as I saw thee, from that hour 

I loathed my deathless state and power. 

Unbidden longings 'gan to swell 

Earth's puny joys with thee to share : 

Life without thee I cannot bear, 

For where thou art not, there is Hell. 

'Twas love with sudden darting rays 

That probed old wounds and woke new pangs, 

Recalling pains of bygone days. 

More cruel far than serpent fangs. 

What without thee were deathlessness, 

The infinity that I possess ? 

Vain, sounding words, an empty load, 

A splendid temple void of God.'' 

Tamitra. 
*' False, tempting spirit, hence away — 
I will not trust my deadliest foe — 
* Thou God, Creator * — see my woe, 
Ah me, I can no longer pray. 
My soul is sick with dreadful yearning. 
Thy words benumb and stupefy, 
With Hell's contagious poison burning — 
But stay, thou lov'st me — tell me why." 



THE DEMON 31 



Demon, 

** * Why ? ' lovely one I never knew, 
Till, full of throes of life new born, 
From off my guilty head I drew 
Yesterday's galling crown of thorn, 
And cast it in the dust, and now 
My Heaven, my Hell, my all, art thou. 
Never can earthly love express 
A fallen angel's vast emotion — 
Tumultuous torrents of excess 
Bursting in mad, resistless ocean. 
Since God the firmament together 
Called from the Void, thy matchless face 
Has sped with me through airy space — 
A dreamland love in wastes of ether. 
Long, long ago 'mid heavenly paeans. 
Making the angels' strains forgot. 
Sounded thy name across the aeons, 
Thine empty name — for thou wast not. 
Could I but tell (how fain I would !) 
How dread God's awful doom appears. 
He lets me know both joy and tears, 
Makes me in ill be unwithstood, 
Nor smiles whene'er I strive for good. 
Through the eternity of years 
I live for self, protracting life 
Through an unending field of strife. 
Which neither peace nor triumph cheers. 



32 THE DEMON 



God lets me see — but that my vision 

May scorn whate'er his hands create, 

And hold his creatures in derision — 

He will not let me choose but hate. 

For, when methought I had fulfilled 

My term of penance, from that day 

Nature for me grew harsh and chilled, 

Love fell like ashes to decay. 

Across a gulf that glimmered blue. 

Bright forms I saw that once I knew 

Whose heads with bridal splendour shone, ^ 

All thought and speech transcending far, 

Like the pale beauty of a star ; 

They knew me not — they all passed on. 

Then in the race of fallen creatures 

I sought my loneliness to ease — 

Oh God ! what speech, what awful features ! 

Was I become as one of these ? 

Then forth in agony to hide me 

I rushed, but knew not wherefore, where. 

My former friends had all denied me, 

For me the world was void and bare, 

Chill terror, fathomless despair. 

^ This is a reference to the Russian marriage ceremony 
where crowns are held over the heads of the bride and 
bridegroom. 



THE DEMON 33 



Outcast I wandered, hither, thither, 

As shattered barque, when envious gales 

Have broke the helm and torn the sails, 

Drifts with the tide and knows not whither. 

As in the welkin after thunder 

One murky cloud, lone, reft asunder, 

One dark spot in the azure air, 

That dares not tarry anywhere, 

Flies aimless on — God only knows 

From whence it came or whither goes. 

And then I sought mankind to win — 

An easy task to plant within 

Such pliant souls a love of sin. 

For good was strange, and bad was kin. 

Ah, fools and knaves — an easy task 

To quench the faintly burning gleam 

Of faith, and make weak man blaspheme — 

Could such be worth my pains ? I ask. 

Ofttimes o'er precipice at night, 

Sudden I flashed like meteor light 

That lonely traveller pressing on, 

Deceived by the near light that shone. 

Would urge his horse to tread in error 

The gaping chasm — one cry of terror 

And horse and rider both were gone. 

From ledge to ledge the blood dripped after, 

Telling a tale of dreadful hurt. 



34 THE DEMON 



But suchlike pastimes could divert 

My thoughts but with a moment's laughter. 

Battling with tempest overpowering, 

Raising the blinding dust, or clad 

In lurid mist, in thunder lowering, 

Ofttimes I rushed, wild, frenzied, mad, 

To drown in elements around me 

The undying flame that slumbered not. 

To flee from thoughts that still confound me. 

And to forget the Unforgot. 

Man's life, and all the troubles in it 

Are but brief sorrow, transient care. 

Some end that life and some begin it ; 

Who can its sum of woe compare 

To pangs that rend me every minute? 

For men, poor creatures born of dust. 

May sin, yet sinning still can trust. 

For the Eternal Judge is just, 

Who punishes, but may forgive. 

Can I, accursed spirit, thrust 

To black damnation, yet outlive 

Anguish immortal as the soul 

That sometimes sears like burning coal. 

And sometimes stings like treacherous adder, 

Goading to desperation madder 

Than frenzy, and a tomb uprears 

To perished hopes of other years ? " 



THE DEMON 35 



Tamiira, 
'' The dreadful tale that thou hast ended 
Why tellst thou me ? Thou must atone 
To God — " 

Demon. 

'' But thee I ne'er offended —' 

Tamara. 
'' Hush, they may hear — '* 

Demon. 

'' Nay, we're alone — '' 

Tamara. 
''But God?—" 

Demon, 

'' He's busy in His Heaven, 

And recks not earth ; He does not care — " 

Tamd^ra. 
'' The pains of Hell to sinners given — '* 

Demon, 

'* I shall be with thee even there." 

Tamara. 
" Whoe'er thou art, my guest unbidden, 
That break'st my troubled peace again, 
Oh sufferer, thou speak'st unchidden, 
And giv'st strange solace to my pain. 



36 THE DEMON 



But be thy purpose to deceive me, 

And thy soft words unfaithful be, 

Spare me, dread Spirit, leave me, leave me. 

What profit were my soul to thee ? 

Lo ! there are maidens without number, 

Whose faces thou hast never seen, 

(Faces as fair as mine, I ween) 

Unworldly and as calm, whose slumber 

As holy nun's serene repose — 

Am I more dear to Heaven than those ? 

Nay, swear to me an oath in token 

Thy promises will ne'er be broken — 

Thou know'st what fears my heart appal, 

The terror that thy words awaken 

In this poor breast so anguish shaken — 

Thou needs must pity, knowing all. 

Swear thou wilt turn from thoughts of evil, 

Swear me a solemn, binding vow, 

Such oath as never saint nor devil 

Swore from the first of time till now." 

Demon, 

" I swear by dawning of creation, 
I swear by Judgment trumpet blast, 
I swear by horrors of damnation. 
By good triumphant at the last. 
I swear by loss of Heaven for ever, 



THE DEMON 37 



By victory *s joy, defeat's regret, 

By that first rapture when we met, 

By that last pang when we shall sever. 

I swear by kindred spirits thronging 

In blank despair Hell's gloomy portal, 

By sword of cherubim immortal 

Who never knew desire or longing, 

By bliss of Heaven, by pain of Hell, 

By holiness on Earth — by thee, 

By thy first tear that ever fell, 

By that last look thou bend'st on me. 

By that pure sigh thy lips are sighing. 

By tresses of thy wavy hair. 

By blessedness, by woe undying, 

By my unbounded love — I swear 

Of old revenge renunciation, 

Of haughty thoughts which late I bore : 

The flattering venom of temptation 

From me shall vex mankind no more. 

I long to make my peace with Heaven, 

To pray, to love, to be forgiven — 

I long for good, I long to cleanse 

With bitter tears of penitence 

My guilty brow from that dread token 

Which God in anger there hath set, 

And with temptation's words unspoken, 

Worthy of thee, all else forget. 



38 THE DEMON 



I, who alone have understood thee, 

Find in thy heart my mercy seat, 

My shrine, mine altar ; I have wooed thee, 

To lay my glory at thy feet. 

Give me thy love — for thee is waiting 

Eternal life for earthly span. 

For I in loving, as in hating. 

Am great like God — not weak like man. 

And I, free son of ether, take thee 

To far dominions high above 

The stars of Heaven, and I will make thee 

Queen of the world, my deathless love. 

Regretless, thou shalt stand surveying 

This earth, as she beneath thee flies, 

Where joyance ever is decaying, 

And Beauty ever fading dies. 

Where crime abounds and doom prevails. 

And only sluggish passions move, 

For would man love or hate, he fails 

Through craven fear to hate or love. 

Nay, what is human love ? — a stirring 

Of youthful blood to quicker flow, 

But love grows chiller, as recurring 

Days, years and decades come and go. 

Canst joy when dearest ones have parted ? 

Resist when charms of beauty lure ? 

Canst sink in sorrow, broken-hearted 



THE DEMON 39 



'Gainst thine own fancies all secure ? 

Thee hath a kinder fate forbidden 

To fade in silence day by day, 

Thy bright imagination hidden 

In narrow bounds of dust and clay, 

'Mid beings cold, unsympathizing, 

False, seeming friends, dissembling foes, 

'Mid barren hopes, ne'er realizing 

Harvest of joys, but aye of woes. 

Even here by convent walls surrounded. 

Thou canst not die, ere thou hast loved, 

Thy prayers were only words that sounded, 

From God, from man alike removed. 

Nay, child of beauty, thou art fated 

To no such common lot as this — 

To other pangs predestinated, 

To fulness of another bliss. 

Cast from thee human, frail emotion. 

And let poor, feeble mortals go. 

And Knowledge fathomless as Ocean 

In rich exchange will I bestow. 

And troops of spirits, light and airy, 

Shall be thy slaves, my lovely bride, 

And dainty elf and lissom fairy 

Attend obedient at thy side. 

And from the eastern star at even, 

For thee I'll snatch a garland down 



40 THE DEMON 



Of golden beams, and dews of Heaven 
Shall be the gems to deck thy crown. 
With ray of sunset s burning glory 
ril gird thee, as with jewelled zone, 
That fragrant winds shall tell the story, 
And waft thy name in amorous tone, 
ril build for thee a splendid chamber 
To lull thine ear with strains divine, 
Chamber of turquoise and of amber — 
Stores from the ocean and the mine. 
Deep as the sea her depth can measure, 
High as the stars their courses move, 
I'll soar or dive to seek thee treasure — 
Oh, love me — " 

II. 

And with words of love 
He kissed her trembling mouth with burning 
Lips, and the impact of that fire 
Thrilled her, as answering all her yearning, 
Kindling temptation and desire. 
Compelling eyes her vision searing 
Scorched her like basilisks, appearing 
As glittering daggers raised to smite. 
Mocking the dark with lurid light — 
Oh ! Hell — her soul is thine to-night ! 
For straight with venom of damnation 



THE DEMON 41 



That kiss corroded to her heart, 
And all the midnight echoes start 
With a wild shriek of consternation — 
A shriek that told a tale heartbreaking 
Where love and agony were blended, 
From youth a passionate leave taking. 
And that young life in terror ended. 



12. 

What time the lonely midnight sentry 
Paced his slow round with iron gong, 
The old man paused before the entry 
Of one nun's cell and halted long 
(Twas the young novice's) — his fingers 
Felt for his gong to sound the alarm, 
(His watch is done, but still he lingers 
Irresolute) — a sense of harm 
Stayed him, for by the breezes driven, 
Something unwonted sounded nigh 
A kiss, he thought, received and given, 
A shriek, and then a strangled cry. 
Misgiving, sudden and distressful, 
Pierced his old heart to the core ; 

^ In lonely districts of Russia it is customary for a night 
watchman to go round the house with a gong or rattle as a 
precaution against thieves. 



42 THE DEMON 



But in a moment all was peaceful 

And still, as it had been before. 

Twas but the wind that passing o'er 

The rustling foliage gave a greeting — 

Twas nought but that the answering shore 

With stream exchanged a kiss in meeting. 

What thoughts ! In him there sure must tarry 

The Evil One's late influence, 

He needs must read his breviary 

To drive such sinful fancies hence; 

He crossed himself with shaking fingers 

Paused a brief moment there to pray — 

Then near the spot no longer lingers 

But hastens on his lonely way. 

13. 

Like peri fair that slumbereth 
Whiter she lay than shroud that bound her, 
Purer than all the white around her 
Upon her brow the hues of death. 
Regardless now of joy and sorrow 
Those lovely eyes are closed alway — 
Oh God ! who seeing them would say 
That lover's kiss or dawning day 
Would not uplift those lids to-morrow? 
In vain the golden sunrise flashes 
Its beams on those fast closed lashes, 



THE DEMON 43 



In vain her ancient father's grief 
Seeks in sad kisses for relief: 
For where grim Death hath set his token 
No mortal hand the seal hath broken. 
Never when guests were wont to rally, 
Had she shone forth so rich, so gay- 
Even on happiest holiday. 
The blossoms culled from native valley 
By ancient custom decked her bed, 
And aromatic petals shed 
Perfumes on her, no more awaking 
To greet the sun when day is breaking. 
And on that pallid, silent face 
No sign of passion left, no trace 
Of that last ecstasy of fear ; 
Nay, every lineament expresses 
Marble's mysterious lovelinesses — 
So still she lay upon her bier. 
As she had changed her mortal breath 
To learn the secret lore of Death. 
A smile, so passing strange, was curving 
Her lips, as it had frozen cold. 
Which to attentive eyes observing 
A painful story might have told. 
Scornful it seemed, as if in dying 
The spirit spurned its mortal cell, 
Like some last thought of summer sighing 



44 THE DEMON 



To earth a soundless, sad '' Farewell." 
That smile, like phantom of her being, 
Appeared more dead, more void of hope. 
Than even the maiden's eyes unseeing — 
Eyes nevermore their lids to ope, 
Like afterglow of sunset mellow. 
When melts in hues of red and yellow 
Day s fiery car, and Caucas snows 
Shine for a moment's space, retaining 
The dying crimson of the rose 
On high Kazbek's proud top remaining — 
But that dead glow no light reveals 
Upon the desert's barren ways, 
And lonely traveller never feels 
A comfort from those far off rays. 

14. 

From far and near her kin assemble 
To follow her to that last rest, 
And old Gudal with hands that tremble 
Rends his grey hair and beats his breast, 
On milk-white steed with solemn pace. 
And the procession, sad and slow, 
Moves on, three days and nights to go 
Until they reach the burial place. 
For long ago Gudal's forefather, 
Robber of many a caravan, 



THE DEMON 45 



Fell sick, and felt Death's terrors gather, 

And, full of fear, the godless man, 

In hope of Heaven by expiating 

His crimes, had vowed on mountain height 

To build a fane on lonely site, 

Where blizzards hurtled unabating. 

And only vultures winged their flight. 

Anon a lonely shrine had risen 

On that vast mountain top a speck, 

A human body to imprison 

In virgin whiteness of Kazbek — 

Birthright by God to cloudland given 

Into a burial place transformed 

For man ! as though his corpse were warmed 

By being a little nearer Heaven I 

As though the farther moved from men. 

The calmer sleeps the soul departed ! 

Who, on that pilgrimage once started, 

Dreams of earth's joy or care again ? 



IS. 
Through broad expanse of blue dominions, 
Far as infinity extending, 
A shining angel spread his pinions, 
Bearing a soul to bliss unending ; 
And with kind word and warm embrace 



46 THE DEMON 



He strove to soothe her doubts and fears, 
And wash from her all suffering s trace 
With flood of penitential tears. 
Afar they heard Heaven's anthem sounding, 
Whose strains the enraptured echoes bore 
Through the ambrosial air surrounding — 
When in the space that lay before, 
Boisterous as whirlwind from abysses, 
Blazing as lightning shaft, malign 
As furious Hell, the Demon hisses 
Defiant, " Leave her, she is mine ! " 
She, dumb with dread, in wild endeavour 
To clasp that angel form defending. 
Prays agonized, and waits impending 
Verdict of bliss or woe for ever, 
Meanwhile before her looms her foe. 
And who that knew him erst, would know 
Him now? — he glared a fiend — a Devil 
Of hate malignant to the last, 
And from his visage, like a blast 
That froze the breeze with humours evil 
As charnel house, a chill air passed. 

" Avaunt, dark fiend of unrepentance/' 
Sounded the seraph's clarion voice, 
*' No more let powers of Hell rejoice, 
For merciful the Heavenly sentence. 



THE DEMON 47 



The Judge her future hath declared : 
He might have doomed, but He hath spared. 
Her days of trial all are past, 
Her earthly dross to earth is cast, 
Her chains are broke which long oppressed- 
She comes ! our long expected guest. 
Her soul was one that sought in vain 
For happiness, and found but sorrow — 
To-day God let her suffer pain, 
To give her boundless joy to-morrow. 
From finer essence God hath blended 
His purest creatures at their birth — 
Think not, proud Spirit, He intended 
This earth for her — nor her for earth. 
Below a debt of pain she borrowed 
To pay the price she owed above. 
She is redeemed ! she loved and sorrowed. 
And Heaven is open wide for love ! " 
He spake, and on the Tempter bending 
The stern reproach of those clear eyes, 
Spread his glad pinions reascending 
Into the Ocean of the skies. 
With gnashing teeth the Demon rages, 
Cursing the hopes his fancy wove, 
Alone ! alone ! through all the ages I 
No gleam of hope — no hope of love I 



48 THE DEMON 



On ridges of the steepest hill 

Above the valley of Kishaour, 

The wayfarer beholdeth still 

The ruins of an ancient tower ; 

And children tremble when their ears 

Catch dreadful stories that Tradition 

Tells of that pile (Mute Apparition 

Risen from the dust of other years) 

Grim 'mid the trees, forbidding, darkling 

It looms, but in the vale below 

Lies a fair land with plenty sparkling 

And hum of men is hushed, and low. 

The noisy caravan is rumbling 

And tinkling on its distant way, 

The happy stream o'er pebbles tumbling 

Scatters its smiles of glistening spray, 

Like wanton child, that thinketh never 

Of eld or sorrow, young for ever. 

Ah ! Nature is so fair a thing, 

Clad with the Sunshine and the Spring ! 

Gloomy that castle now, its story 

Hid in the annals of the past, 

Like some old man, enfeebled, hoary. 

Doomed all his dear ones to outlast. 

By day its denizens are hidden, 

But when the moonbeam glads the night 

They hum, and creep, and fly unchidden, 



THE DEMON 49 



And take their freedom and delight. 

Grey hermit spiders there are weaving 

Their webs for silly flies' deceiving, 

And sportively the lizards green 

Play on the ruined roof unheeding, 

And wily snake from hole unseen 

Crawls down the crumbling staircase leading 

To where a lofty hall had been, 

Slow wriggling o'er the steps between 

Garret and basement, or extended 

With long striped body stretched outright, 

Like sword, abandoned after fight 

By warrior slain, whose wars are ended. 

— Nowhere a shadow to remind 

Of those dim years so far behind, 

Erased by Time's slow busy fingers. 

And all is lonely now and wild. 

No memory of Gudal still lingers 

Nor of Tamara, his dear child. 

But on the dizzy peak remaineth 

That lonely chapel where their bones 

Were laid, and some Good Power sustaineth 

A semblance of those pillared stones. 

Silent, immutable and stern, 

On endless duty 'fore the entry 

Black, granite guardians stand on sentry, 

In white cuirass that seems to burn 



50 THE DEMON 



With dazzling gleams of ice eterne. 

And massive icebergs without number 

Tower sombre frowning over all, 

As if the frost had charmed to slumber 

A vast cascade in headlong fall. 

And there the blizzard never weary 

Whirls snow, like dust, from those gray walls, 

Or, howling dirges long and dreary. 

The ice-bound guards to duty calls. 

Soon as that summons calls to rally 

That lonely temple's worshippers, 

From bleakest east continually 

Cloudland with hurricane concurs. 

None venture here with fearful tread 

To mourn Gudal, Tamara dead. 

Kazbek's grim barrier guards for ever 

The secret of its icy breast, 

And busy hum of men may never 

Break through their everlasting rest. 



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